Friday, November 14, 2008

Review: Twisted Creek

Title: Twisted Creek
Author: Jodi Thomas
Genre: Contemporary

Before starting the review I'd like to give a shout out to Nath over at Books, Books and more Books for her wonderful review of Twisted Creek. Even though I didn't comment on Nath's review, I was still in lurker mode, it's the reason I decided to give this book a try and I'm so very glad I did! And now...the review.

It was a long day at a lousy job that she didn't like but needed, desperately. Allie Daniels made her way home to the Memphis duplex she shared with Nana, her grandmother and the woman who had raised her since she was three. Nana has been there for her all her life. But Nana isn't the only thing that's waiting for Allie when she gets home that night. There's a letter from a lawyer in Lubbock, Texas. If the letter is to be believed then Allie has an inheritance. It's the property of an Uncle Jefferson and it's on Twisted Creek.

Jodi Thomas...I used to read her historicals. Not sure why or when I stopped but after reading Twisted Creek I'll be looking for more of her stories of Texas. Thomas pulled me into this story with the first line...

"If rotten luck were a man, I'd have a stalker."

Right off the bat the images Thomas evokes draw the reader in and she paints such a vivid picture with her words. While there is a developing romance it's really more of an ensemble with the romantic couple, Allie and Luke, taking the leads but the secondary characters being just as important. There wouldn't be a story without them. And I shudder at what Allie's life might have been like without Nana. I really think Nana was my favorite character. But more on that later.

Allie Daniels was so close to getting her art degree and realizing her dream of being an art teacher but it wasn't to be. While in her junior year at college her grandfather died leaving Allie no choice but to move in with Nana. Five years later they're still together and Allie is no closer to her dream of teaching. Instead she's been working at various jobs in various places, barely getting by. So when the letter with news of an inheritance comes it sounds too good to be true. But as Nana says, they're "corner peepers" and so they cash the check that was included with the letter, pack up and move to Texas.

Once they get to Texas things start getting really interesting in the form of their neighbors on Twisted Creek. The secondary characters are such a treat to read. There's Willie, an older man who has a very distinct odor. And Timothy, a young man who has some hard decisions to make. Mary Lynn who is from Twisted Creek but tends to keep to herself. And Mrs. Deals who is the matriarch of the group. She even drives a Caddy! Then there's Paul who shows up with his wife but stays on by himself. There are a few other characters who come and go on Twisted Creek but these are the ones that I felt the reader gets to know the best.

As Allie and Nana get settled in they get to know their neighbors and come to expect their company. There is one neighbor that Allie isn't sure what to make of. He seems to be a drifter but as Allie gets to know Luke Morgan she realizes that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Luke.

I liked Luke. I think I would describe him as an "everyday man" kind of hero. He wasn't perfect but he was sincere. Personally, I think sincerity goes a long way. He treats people with respect and doesn't judge people based on how they looked but how they act. Of course it didn't hurt that he was good looking and like to swim naked in the moonlight.

I found that I really liked Allie. She's one of those characters that if she were real I'd like to have her as a friend. She didn't have the best life growing up if you take into account that Carla, her mom, essentially left her to be raised by her grandparents. She doesn't know who her dad is. So she has no real relationship with her mom, no dad in her life and she wasn't able to fulfill her dream of graduating but she does have Nana. The fact that she didn't get upset that she was basically stuck with Nana shows what a decent person she is. I think she realized how lucky she was to have Nana. But Allie didn't always have the best outlook on life. She did tend to get down on life and herself at times. But it was never a pity party and she never expected people to feel sorry for her. At the beginning of the book Allie is thinking about where she should be, where she fits in...

"Most of my life I'd felt like the last guest at a dinner party. I kept circling the table looking for my seat as all the food disappeared." page 2

Those two sentences put the image of this sad, lonely woman just trying to find her place and never quite getting there. Thomas' writing throughout the book is like that. Provoking imagines of these characters with such ease.

Eventually these people, these Nesters as they're called, come to know one another and slowly trust is built among them. They become a family of misfits who find that they actually fit. There is some trouble on Twisted Creek and they all have to work together and help each other when things get really bad. I loved how everyone depended on each other and each of their strengths were used for the good of the family.

Jodi Thomas did a wonderful job of giving the reader a story about people from all walks of life, living together, developing friendships and even having some romance under the moonlight. Overall a very delightful tale.

Rating: A

And now for a little extra. I mentioned that my favorite character was Nana. She was such a joy to read. I LOVED the fact that she giggled. The fact that she loved so deeply and so strongly. The saying that the heart of the home is the kitchen seems so appropriate since that was Nana's favorite room and she was surely the heart of this family. So I'd like to close with what I call Nana~isms.

"Nana called us "corner peepers" always thinking something better lay just around the bend." page 3

"You can't always bounce blessings, child. Sometimes you just have to catch them." page 107

"He's puffed up worse than three-day-old roadkill." page 148

"I kind of like sleeping with a memory." page 151

"I think about what might have been sometimes. It's like there's another life I'm living along a road I chose not to travel. When times get hard, I think about that other place and I go there in my mind." page 159

And Nana's way of saying I love you ~ "Her old hand patted my shoulder three times. I love you without words." page 58


  1. Great review Leslie :D I'm just sooo glad you enjoyed it :) This is definitively in my top 3 for the year :D

  2. Thanks Nath. As you can tell I loved this book and Nana. Everybody should have a Nana. : )

  3. I agree! Apparently, she'll write more story in Twisted Creek! I just can't wait!